5 web design trends you should be following

Michael

Websites are the face of the Internet. How they look and function reflects the state of a brand’s online existence.

The look of a site — the colors, images, fonts, and the design’s overall look — makes an impression on the user’s eye. Visuals lure users to a site, and then functionality makes the site successful or unsuccessful.

Lets take a look at some top web design trends happening in 2015.

1. This is the year that mobile takes over design.

pic-mobileAs responsive web design increasingly becomes the norm, we are going to notice a heavy focus on mobile-style elements showing up on our desktops. Some of the most visited websites, such as Facebook.com and Apple.com, already have more mobile users than desktop users, and with speedy adoption rate of larger mobile screen sizes, we are rapidly approaching the tipping point for nearly all websites. Smartphones are here to stay, so is the mobile web.

Over the past few years, I feel like many designers have been patching existing websites to work on smaller screen sizes to quickly please clients. I anticipate that 2015 will be seen as the year this changes, when mobile-first design becomes the norm. Studies show that 85 percent of adults think that a mobile website should be as good or better than their desktop website.

Some facts:

  • Americans spend an average of 2.5 hours per day on mobile devices.
  • 57 percent of consumers will not recommend a company with a website that looks bad on a mobile device.
  • According to a survey by Google, 48 percent of users said that if a site didn’t work well on their smart-phone, it made them feel like the company didn’t care about their business.
  • Mobile accounts for 60 percent of total digital media time spent by Americans

 

2. Increased use of interactive scrolling and parallax.

The average attention span of an adult online is eight seconds. The use of interactive scrolling and parallax helps the user stay focused and engaged with your website.

What is interactive scrolling? It’s a technique that offers clean and fluid navigation, giving the designer the ability to create a linear narrative within a site. Users are able to navigate, discover and explore without ever leaving the page, just by scrolling. Parallax scrolling involves the background moving at a slower rate to the foreground, creating a 3D effect as you scroll down the page. Parallax is a fantastic technique for visually engaging the user by using layers of images to create a 3D effect.

Different uses of parallax in websites include creating an engaging three-dimensional timeline, building an interactive path that leads the user to a call-to-action or giving otherwise flat design a multidimensional look.

Even though internet speeds have been increasingly faster, one major downfall of long, one-page sites is the heavy load time. The introduction of infinite scrolling cut downs on web site loading times by allowing the website to load content little by little and removing the clunky, traditional pagination systems that slow a user’s navigation to new and different site content.

3. The new minimalism + the power of images.

highresClean, simple layouts provide a pleasant user experience, guiding visitors along a path towards an action. Since the average attention span of adults is so limited (eight seconds!), it is key to grab their attention immediately and keep them engaged. Emphasis on layout is key. Cleaning out clutter brings forward the goal of the website and allows for easy navigation.

Users do not want to be bogged down with cluttered websites. The ability to quickly communicate your brand is very important. Having content that is concise and scannable equates to better usability.

About 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and, according to KISSmetrics, 40 percent of people respond better to visual information rather than plain text. That being said, the designers should let the imagery tell the story.

The use of high-quality images are nothing new, but people are becoming more aware of “real” imagery versus stock. The use of custom photography allows visitors to get a real sense of what to expect from your brand. Images can convey feelings better and more simply than almost any other digital medium. Emotions like sadness, joy, pity and delight can be felt in images that are difficult to capture in copy.

4. Large backgrounds + full-screen video.

The traditional image carousel received a facelift over the last few years. Images have gotten bigger, became more vibrant, and are no longer restricted to a container. This is due to faster internet speeds and larger devices with retina displays, progressing in design circles to full-screen background images instead of small carousels.

Designers have gone one step further to visually attract users by adding cinematography to their full-screen backgrounds. Video has been around a while, but it was often clunky and poorly executed within a design. Now, with increased bandwidth and the use of modern browsers, new opportunities are emerging. Video is a wonderful way to create a quick connection and tell your story.

5. Longer scrolling sites.

With the continued increase of mobile usage and web visitors scrolling 76 percent past the fold, people are looking for a consistent browsing experience across every device.

With the growing number of touch screens, scrolling is becoming more natural than clicking. Users do not want to be bothered by hunting and pecking through the site to find their information. Incorporating longer scrolling pages helps to unify a user’s experience.

What design trends are you seeing in 2015? Leave a note in the Comments section or tweet us @QuinlanCompany today.

Quinlan’s Creative Director Frank Conjerti says Goodbye to Ad Club of Buffalo

Sarah

Quinlan’s Creative Director, Frank Conjerti is stepping down as Secretary on the Advertising Club of Buffalo Board of Directors and wants to share his advice for future board members everywhere.

“The Ad Club board was an amazing opportunity for me,” Frank notes. “It was a lot of work, but just as much fun.”

Watch Frank reflect on his experiences and opportunities as being a board member for the Ad Club including some slam dunk attempts and bacon. Yes, bacon.

Looking to become a member? Visit the Ad Club of Buffalo for more information.

Don’t forget to tweet us your thoughts @QuinlanCompany!

Introducing Hannah Gilray, Quinlan’s Summer 2015 Content Intern

Quinlan

Meet Hannah Gilray, Quinlan’s new intern for Summer 2015.

Hannah’s responsibilities will include launching, managing and producing content for Off Campus Living, a new blog dedicated to making the best of small living spaces through innovative decor, design, storage and DIY projects. This blog will be aimed at an audience of college students and young adults. Hannah will also manage the social media accounts for Off Campus Living.

“I love that the industry is always changing, and how creative it always allows one to be,” Hannah says.”There is always something new to learn.”

Hannah Gilray

About Hannah Gilray

A student at the State University of New York at Fredonia, Hannah majors in business marketing and is working towards a minor in communication. She plans to graduate in December 2015.

Hannah previously attended Alfred State College, where she played NCAA Division III soccer for two years. She transferred to SUNY Fredonia for the Spring 2014 semester and continued her soccer career with the Blue Devils. She loves to stay active and participate in other recreational sports, including intramural basketball and soccer.

Hannah enjoys meeting new people, visiting her aunt in Naples, Florida, browsing Pinterest, watching Will Ferrell movies, shopping and spending time with friends and family.

Hannah is excited to start her journey in advertising and digital content at Quinlan. She aspires to learn how to manage multiple social media accounts and excel in digital content production.

She currently resides in Fredonia, where she grew up and attended high school.

Responsive design and creating conversions for a manufacturing website: A case study

Ben


How often do you think about O-Rings? Unless you’re manufacturing medical devices, locomotive engines or aerospace components in your basement, probably not very often. This is no surprise — O-Rings aren’t especially sexy. You’re not going to see them on the runway in Paris. Vanity Fair isn’t running a tribute to the joys of sealing anytime soon.

Rubber O-Rings and seals, however, can be the difference between success and failure in countless industrial and mechanical applications that keep us healthy, moving and safe. The precise cut of the perfect rubber compound, sometimes as small as eight-thousandth of an inch or as large as 41 feet, can be the bulwark between a product that works exactly as planned or a disaster.

 Who is Apple Rubber?

While you may not think about O-Rings very often, these versatile components are on our mind all of the time. Apple Rubber — one of the leading seal and sealing device designers and manufacturers in the United States — is one of our clients. Quinlan is a Buffalo, New York advertising agency and Apple Rubber is located in nearby Lancaster, New York.  We’ve been fortunate enough to work with the company for several years.

Our team has handled everything from Apple Rubber’s print ads in trade publications to the design of its trade show booths to the management of its digital content marketing and video production needs.  We’re always looking for ways to get Apple Rubber’s outstanding products into the hands of project managers and engineers in dozens of countries around the world.

roundtable

When the time came to build a new website for Apple Rubber, we used our expertise in responsive web design to build Apple Rubber an online home that would support organic search results, improve the mobile experience and promote user conversions.

“When execute properly, responsive design can dramatically improve all key metrics of a website,” says Ryan DiMillo, Quinlan’s vice president of operations. “By providing a higher level of technical customization that caters to both users on multiple devices and the best practices of search engine optimization, we can promote conversions and organic search ranking.”

 We achieved each of our goals. Here’s how.

Apple Rubber.com and responsive web design: A Case Study

The situation. Prior to the redesign, Apple Rubber’s website, AppleRubber.com, was robust enough to support an extensive seal design guide used throughout the industry; two blogs; extensive product and service pages; numerous forms to request engineering support, pricing options and product samples; and a bevy of online engineering tools. Traffic was steady and organic search traffic was strong.

 So what was the problem? The lack of responsive web design made AppleRubber.com a chore to view or use on any device besides a desktop computer. The look and layout of the site and its otherwise outstanding tools and guides were dated. New content offerings like ebooks, whitepapers, email newsletters and improved blog content were difficult to access intuitively. The processes for user information capture and movement into the sales conversion funnel were ripe for improvement.

The solution. Pursuing a mobile-first strategy, the Quinlan design team made responsive web design a priority.

A quick refresher for anyone a little gray of web design responsiveness — “Responsive websites respond to their environments,” explains John Polacek, a Chicago web developer, noting that the responsive site design uses multiple fluid grid layouts to ensure that pages look good in any device. Quinlan developer Drew Celestino has a nice post with five tips for responsive development on the Quinlan Ideas blog that is worth perusing.

“Day by day, the number of devices, platforms and browsers that need to work with your site grows,” says Jeffrey Veen of True Ventures. “Responsive web design represents a fundamental shift in how we’ll build websites for decades to come.”

applerubberproducts1

Additionally, on-site engineering tools and guide were redesigned for simplicity and accessibility. Quinlan’s designers emphasized  specific areas of the site based on user frequency. Video and illustration played important roles as our team combined live action with custom animation to allow users to consume complex product information in a simplified and entertaining manner.

The results. When the redesigned website was launched in Q4 2015, Apple Rubber immediately enjoyed substantial, across-the-board improvements. The website provided a 17% increase in conversion rates and a 40% improvement in average page load time. Email signups have increased exponentially. Since the relaunch, sessions and users are up nearly 20%, pageviews have increased by 7% and the bounce rate is down by a whopping 88% over the previous time period.

Even more notable: mobile sessions are up by over 1,000% since the redesign went live. And — fortunately — AppleRubber.com beat the April 21 “Mobilegeddon” deadline when Google changed the format for its organic search rankings in mobile, penalizing sites that did not have a device-appropriate site for use outside of the desktop.

“Responsive web design is focused around providing an intuitive and gratifying experience for everyone,” noted British developer Shay Howe writes. “Desktop computer and cell phone users alike benefit from responsive websites.” As do, we found, rubber seal manufacturers and their clientele.

applerubberproducts

 Conclusion

We live in a world in which business professionals — from CEOs to scientists — expect clean, seamless online experiences regardless of the device being used. All tools and features are expected to be available. Communication with a business partner is expected to be easy. Access to information is  expected to be fast and intuitive. Make me work, and you’re running a very real risk of losing my business.

Our relationship with Apple Rubber is special: the company is, in a very real sense, our neighbor. The success of this manufacturing facility impacts not only Quinlan as an agency but Western New York as a whole. When our design work helps Apple Rubber attract more visitors, funnel its traffic more successfully and convert more customers, then we’re not simply writing a success story for a client: we are helping the entire region. Every job is bigger than just a job.

 

If your business needs help, advice or guidance with responsive web design, please feel free to contact Quinlan online or by calling (716) 691-6200.

 

4 tips for startups with Niall Wallace

Sarah

On April 29, Niall Wallace, CEO of Infonaut, a healthcare research tech start-up from Toronto, took the chair at dig in Buffalo. Wallace created Infonaut after the SARS crisis in 2006 with a goal to implement a hospital strategy incorporating evidence-based infection control.

 “Healthcare was close to shutting down during the SARS outbreak,” Wallace explains. “Hospital superbugs and infections are actually the fourth leading cause of death in America, behind heart disease and cancer.”

According to the CDC, infectious diseases are preventable but still remain the fourth leading cause of death as they continue to increase. Infectious disease is still a visible problem in hospitals, and Wallace is eager to find a solution.

 With all start-ups comes a challenge: how do you face an issue or crisis?

“Think big!” Wallace suggests. “Don’t forget to be destructive. Think of different views of the problem and find out how you can solve it — then stick with it.”

 startupgrind

4 tips for Startups with Niall Wallace

 

1. Start with an idea.
Find a cause — a problem you want to solve and believe in — and find others who relate to this.

2. Find influencers.
Find others who share your goal and involve them. Since transitioning to Buffalo, Wallace has brought on many knowledgeable scientists and innovators in the area who share his vision and bring experience to his team.
“They really bring in prospective views to the solution we are trying to reach,” he says.

3. Never forget step 2.
Step one defines your initiative and helps you define your beginning goals, but it won’t lead directly to step 3 (profit). Step two is often overlooked. It involves the process and tedious research needed for any startup company. It includes developing a streamline for your process, consolidating and constructing the information you have and curating a system that will allow you to steadily move forward.

4. Entrepreneurship is a gut check.
“Take the first ‘no’ you get instead of waiting for the longest one,” Wallace explains as he reminisces of his startup days inside Toronto’s MaRs Discovery District — an innovative hub for startups and entrepreneurs. The process may be a gut check, but is necessary to get where you are going.

 

Startup Grind Buffalo holds monthly events at dig, Buffalo’s very own design innovative garage — a coworking workspace with access to mentors and opportunity for collaboration. Check out Startup Grind Buffalo for more information and be sure to Visit D!G for collaborative meetups.

 

What challenges have you faced as an entrepreneur? We’d love to hear your thoughts. Tweet us at @QuinlanCompany.